About this project
Thank you to everyone who helped us reach our goal! We are now moving forward with all aspects of post-production!
ABOUT THE FILM
Headhunt Revisited retraces Caroline’s improbable journey to Melanesia in the 1920's, then known as the land of headhunters, to paint portraits of the native islanders. 80 years later her paintings have inspired two contemporary artists. American photographer Michele Westmorland and Papua New Guinean painter Jeffry Feeger, who motivated by Caroline's art, have created their own modern interpretations of Melanesians. Headhunt Revisited illustrates with paintings, photography and filmmaking, that all forms of art are instrumental in communicating stories of culture and tradition.
WHO IS CAROLINE MYTINGER?
In 1926, artist Caroline Mytinger set out with “bedeviled handyman” and her dear friend Margaret Warner, on a long journey to paint portraits of the unspoiled civilizations of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“No female outfit such as ours could go alone to paint headhunters and come back with their own heads. No man had done it. No man had yet tried.” - Caroline Mytinger
The two women made their way through what was then known as the land of headhunters. Their journey was nothing short of amazing and, at times, fraught with danger. Mosquitoes engorged with blood had to be snipped off with scissors, cockroaches the size of hummingbirds chewed on their toes and a volcanic eruption threatened the very existence of the artwork.
Caroline Mytinger published two books about her expeditions. And yet, more than eighty years later, Mytinger was nearly forgotten, along with her art and her ground-breaking expedition - until Headhunt Revisited emerges.
In 1995, a family friend dying of cancer, gave me a book from her beautiful library. It was Caroline Mytinger’s New Guinea Headhunt. Marie said to me, “I know how much you love this part of the world - I think there is a bit of you in it.”
Little did I know how much the book would impact me.
Fascinated by Caroline, I began researching her life and years later I found the paintings - crated away in storage at the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley.
They haven't been seen by the public since 1935! I wondered, would these paintings matter to the people of Melanesia today?
IT WAS THEN I KNEW — I HAD TO MAKE A FILM.
After years of planning, in 2005, my expedition to retrace Caroline’s footsteps, became a reality.
Caroline wanted to paint portraits of her subjects depicting the pride and dignity they deserved. I wanted to take photos showing that same sense of pride - to tell the story of change in Melanesia – to open eyes and minds to a place that a small population of the world even knows about.
I took a team with me for 2 months to film, interview and document the culture. We traveled by boat, following Caroline’s path, visiting many of the same village locations. With 90 hours of film, 10,000 images and Lauren Hutton as the voice of Caroline, it is now time to tell the whole story in a documentary film.
And who better than Lauren, with her rich raspy voice and her own adventurous lifestyle - just like Caroline.
Remarkably, we located descendants to 4 of the paintings. It was exciting for me - and each of the families - to see cherished relatives in Caroline’s paintings. Caroline captured their culture and their history in a way not written or visually documented until the early 20th century. It was a great honor to share such a rare, visual documentation of their heritage.
Several trips to Papua New Guinea later, Amanda Adams of Art Stret Gallery in Port Moresby introduced me to the faces of a growing contemporary art community. I met a young contemporary artist who tells HIS story, with HIS voice, using HIS brush. HE is Jeffry Feeger and HE is Papua New Guinean.
Inspired by Caroline’s story, Jeffry has created a series of his own paintings and is currently producing additional artwork for the upcoming “One World, Two Visions” exhibition.
“To honor her work, I decided to choose a similar composition and cast of characters of which she had chosen for her work. It meant I would have to follow a somewhat similar, however different path, in discovering the kinds of people she met on her journey.
I felt it was important to capture a modern contemporary interpretation as opposed to a traditional look, to reflect the nature of our society in its present day - acknowledging that indeed times have changed.”
- Jeffry Feeger
Jeffry’s passion to paint portraits of his people living in a changing world is an inspiration. I have learned through Jeffry’s and Caroline’s portraits that all forms of art - painting, photography, filmmaking - past and present, are instrumental in communicating the stories of culture, tradition and pride.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
The film is in the can. All footage has been logged and transcribed. We have photographed Caroline’s paintings and scrapbooks, and located the archival footage and photographs necessary to tell her story.
We have one pick-up shoot planned in Papua New Guinea in July 2014, scheduled around the launch of “One World, Two Visions”. This will be an opportunity to do another interview with historian and project adviser Dr. Andrew Moutu and to strengthen the thread of the film focusing on Jeffry Feeger. We also plan to conduct pick-up interviews in the U.S. with scholars to provide more historical and cultural context.
WHERE KICKSTARTER COMES IN…AND SO DO YOU.
With your support, we can afford the post-production needed to edit Headhunt Revisited and complete the documentary.
This film is being made in the most economical way possible. Many people have already given their time and talent, gratis or at significantly reduced costs, because they believe that this story needs to be told and shared with the world.
Successful completion of this campaign means we will have the finishing funds we need to submit Headhunt Revisited for public broadcast in 2015, including an:
Graphics and Animation
- Archival Footage and Image Licensing
A documentary film includes many stages. Any additional funds raised will support:
Marketing for Distribution
A Pickup Shoot
- Additional Expert Interviews
HOW DOES KICKSTARTER WORK?
As you may know, the way Kickstarter works, only when we reach our fundraising goal, in the time designated, are you charged for your pledge through Amazon. If we don't hit our goal, you will not be charged. Only when we hit our goal will we receive any of the funds everyone has pledged.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THIS MOVIE!
Caroline’s art has connected artists and cultures across oceans and decades. With your support, I WILL have the chance to tell this story. Please contribute what you can and share with your friends.
The story of HEADHUNT REVISITED is gaining traction. Here are some places and publications that have featured the film.
Smithsonian Magazine, Asian Geographic, Photo Media, Paradise Magazine, The Seattle Times, The Explorers Journal
Adventurous Dreams - Adventurous Lives by Jason Schoonover
They Made Their Mark by Jane Eppinga
Funding & Honors:
Scott Pearlman Award
Women in Film, Seattle
The Jolika Collection
The Kling Family Foundation
Flags for Expedition:
Explorers Club, Society of Women Geographers and Wings WorldQuest
The Explorers Club - Headquarters and various chapters The National Arts Club in New York, International League of Conservation Photographers, Society of Woman Geographers, Beijing Film Academy in China
Dates are now being identified for presentations in Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles and Dallas.
MORE ABOUT OUR TALENT
The expedition could not have been possible without a strong team. First Light Films with Jeff Streich and Austin Storms, captured stunning, cinematic footage and audio; I enlisted my friends in PNG to charter the MV FeBrina as our transportation and base during the expedition; Dr. Andrew Moutu, a Papua New Guinean anthropologist along with a host of other support people to make the proper introductions; Captain Alan Raabe and crew, Karen Huntt, Dick Doyle, Danny Kennedy, Maggie Fintic along with guest supporters, Nancy Rosenthal and Nancy Holland.
I would like to thank our many supporters who made the expedition possible. Please follow this link to see who they are: Supporters
Who Are We:
Michele Westmorland, Director and Executive Producer.A noted photographer with 20 years of experience traveling to Papua New Guinea and other Melanesian islands, this story has been her passion for nearly 15 years. Her other passion - scuba diving and photographing what inhabits the oceans.
Kimberlee Bassford, Producer.
Smart and talented lady with her own successful film projects, mother of 2 beautiful small children, lives in paradise.
Sandy Jeglum, Associate Producer and Editor.
Sandy has had so many jobs on this project, she deserves multiple titles. What she is passionate about is the editing, video development and production. She’s the brains behind any video content on this page.
Deborah Kirk, Bookwriter.
Although not directly related to the film portion of the project, the companion book is a true asset. Accomplished writer, publisher and scuba diver, Deborah and Michele have been long time friends and collaborated in several magazine articles.
Elle Russ, Script Writer.
Her work will be cut out for her when the rough cut is developed. Originally from Chicago, Elle made the right choice to leave the windy city to pursue her career in film.
Icarus Music, Composer.
If you liked the music provided in the Kickstarter video, then you’ll love what Eddie and Marta do for the full documentary.
Jill Friedberg, Story Consultant.
Teacher, editor on several significant films - including The Meaning of Food, which Kimberlee also worked on.
Dr. Joshua Bell of Smithsonian Institute and Dr. Andrew Moutu, Director of the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery: Anthropology is their profession and they are our “go to” gentlemen for making sure the facts are correct!
And starring Jeffry Feeger in his real life part as an artist! 30 years old, has a family, lives in Alotau, PNG. Is the voice of contemporary art and a rising star with brush in hand.
Risks and challenges
Working in developing countries like Melanesia is frightfully expensive. Because of the natural resource extraction business, it has competed for housing, fuel and food costs, thus making it one of the most expensive places on the planet to travel to. It took an enormous amount of capital to pay for the expedition. That portion is done. Remaining, there is pick-up footage for fleshing out Jeffry’s story, an exhibition and presentations planned for the future in Port Moresby, PNG.
Ultimately, the greatest challenge is raising the funds, not just for the rough cut (which is mandatory for grants), but to complete the final film, and get it into theaters. We have assembled an amazing team of editors, musicians, writers, researchers, sound designers and other talent to make the Headhunt Revisited story memorable, and to ensure we reach our final goal.
Although a much easier trek than Caroline’s, the research and planning for the expedition I completed was a difficult road to walk. Many people, male and female, thought what I wanted to do was far too ambitious. Eight years after my expedition, I remain determined to finish this film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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